Paragliding in Kamshet – 5 Things to Know – (Guest Post by Nikhil Shridhar)

Paragliding in Kamshet -Things to Know

Firstly about Kamshet :
Kamshet with Luscious green cover, placid lakes and undulating hilly terrains make it a perfect weekend holiday destination. Located at about 2200 ft above sea level Nestled in the Western Ghats about 118 km from Mumbai, Kamshet straddles the ancient trade route between the Konkan region and Pune. Kamshet is about 56 km from Pune and 11 km from Lonavala and is accessible by road and rail from both Mumbai and Pune. The hills in and around Kamshet are dotted with ancient cave temples and medieval fortresses.

Paragliding in Kamshet : Kamshet’s is world renowned among paragliding lovers for highly suitable topography and perfect weather located in the Sahyadri mountain range with many take-off points and  is also blessed with low height hills that provide a great deal of flat spaces for an easy landing making it a ideal learning destination with producing the highest numbers of trained paragliding pilots in the country. Every year more than 600+ pilots are getting trained in Kamshet leaving Bir far behind (Breaking the myth). Bir is primarily known for it’s cross country flying(hence number of visiting pilots from across the world are relatively higher) and Tandem Joyrides. One can easily say Kamshet as Training Mecca for Paragliding.  The world-class paragliding training facilities attract a large number of flying-sport aficionados to Kamshet from across the world with soaring over  the beautiful countryside, provides a once-in-a-lifetime experience.

5 IMPORTANT THINGS TO KNOW BEFORE DOING PARAGLIDING IN KAMSHET

Your first Tandem paragliding flight can be intimidating, but above all, it must be fun and exciting and to be able to enjoy your first tandem Paragliding joyride the fullest, proper planning of few minutes and making necessary arrangements must be taken seriously. So before you board that much-awaited flight to your dream destination, do consider these 5 vital things.

1.  Who are you flying with ? What’s their Reputation?

So you have decided to do paragliding in Kamshet and …. First thing that comes to your mind is who should you fly with?

Do your Research. PUT YOUR EAR TO THE GROUND. The prime consideration while booking a tandem joyride is choosing the best Paragliding Operator or School. The traces of information about the School can end up in exploring numerous options.  Usually if they are more reputable it has a great service.  Questions like how long has the company been in service and how well is it serving its customers now, is it reputed, experienced, and efficient should be the preferred criteria of your choice. You can get a pretty good feel for a paragliding company by scouting reviews online. Before you sign up with a paragliding company try to search for their website and go through their about section , services offered, testimonials and Image/ Video Gallery to get an idea about their quality services. If time persists you can also have a look towards the review websites like Trip Advisor and Facebook page etc.

*Ground Fact :
Currently there are not more than 5 school operating out of Kamshet but only a couple of them has existence for more than 15 years. Do check if the school is associated with International Standards like APPI, BHPA, USHPA etc. If they are associated with such organisations then check if the tandem Pilots and Instructors have appropriate license are certified to fly . These details you can easily be noted on their websites.
e.g. Read about APPI here : https://appifly.org

Paragliding in Kamshet - Things to Know

2. How safe are they? Are they certified? Is it safe to do paragliding with them?

So you have shortlisted few operators from your research or some friend recommend you. Next and most important aspect you should consider while choosing the Operator is safety. Paragliding is an adventure sport and safety should be your utmost priority. So once you have detailed information about the school/operator and its reviews, it is a good idea to gather some of the info about their safety policies. Finally, get it from the horse’s mouth. Call them and ask simple questions.

– If the person you talk to is open with you, friendly, inviting and thorough, you’re quite likely to meet the same reception in person when you show up for flying. 
– Ask if pilots you will be flying with are they certified / Licensed & Experienced ? 
– Would there be any safety brief before flight or not? 
– Are the adventure equipments used during flight are certified, in good condition and properly maintained?  – Harness, Helmet, Glider & Reserve.
– In case of any emergencies will be there a doctor on call or first aid options within.

***Maybe when at site ask for Pilot licenses to activity incharge to prove that they’re not making it up, Maybe go online and check to see if the credentials of your company and instructor are properly certified.

Paragliding in Kamshet - Things to Know

3. How much it would cost? and what are Terms & Conditions.

ASK YOURSELF: IS THIS REALLY WHERE YOU WANT TO SAVE A FEW BUCKS? This can be first or least and the important criteria are towards deciding on the package and gathering the info about package includes and package excludes.. Shading more light all the companies in Kamshet have their prices fixed as all of them come under a local paragliding association KAPA (Kamshet Paragliding  Association) and at the moment Basic  Tandem ride which lasts 8-10 will cost you 2500INR on weekdays and 3000 INR on Weekends / Holidays plus Taxes, Travel to site and video services are on actuals. Some also offer group discounts, so don’t forget to ask if you are planning in group. There are also longer duration, training/Instructional tandems and Acrobatics type of Tandem options available but charges may vary.

If the prices are startlingly lower then may be the company is comparatively new, beware: You’re going to get what you pay for. Also remember safety in aviation is a high-cost phenomenon.

Secondly before signing up the Adventure Partner go through the terms & Conditions of the company and if you have any questions try to clear it before booking itself and check for the refund policy and cancellation policy too.

4. Overall experience apart from a paragliding ride what else to expect.

Inflight experience .
– Smile for the Camera : Selfie in the sky. Honestly, for your first  Tandem ride, you should go ahead and opt for a video package offered . The whole experience can seem to go by in the blink of an eye. If you want to hold on to a piece of your paragliding forever, capture it properly! All Paragliding operators have this option but don’t forget to look around in flight (than staring at the camera throughout) when the camera is capturing you 😉
Talk to the pilot in flight and they will happily keep you engaged throughout. This will show you their knowledge as well as professionalism. Most of the pilots speak English, Hindi and Marathi languages.

Post flight experience.
Flight certificate. You’re welcomed back to reality with the presentation of commemorative flight certificates to take home as a memento of your paragliding activity.

Paragliding in Kamshet - Things to Know

5. Understand the limitation .

– Weather Condition :
Paragliding is weather dependent adventure sport and a good flight needs safe wind conditions, so don’t push if pilot is cancelling your flight for safety reasons. 

– Health & Injuries
Generally, if you are able to walk , run, sit and stand, you can take a tandem paragliding flight but It is also necessary to inform about any health issues or recent injuries or disabilities of the passengers while booking your ride. Generally, patients with heart ailment or epilepsy are not allowed to fly.

– Body Weight
There is no weight limit for paragliding tandems as such, as long as there is enough wind to fly. But It’s generally a good idea to inform about passengers weight during booking itself (If child or Heavy weight 95 kgs and above) so pilots are prepared with the right equipment and you don’t end up disappointed. On most days, Pilots are able  to fly passengers comfortably up to about 80 KGs.

Finally, trust your instincts. If you’ve done your homework, let your instincts lead the way. Your gut knows if you’re dealing with professional, kind people who place safety and customer service at the top of their priority list, and those who are responsible to introduce you to this beautiful sport.

Paragliding in Kamshet - Things to Know

BONUS: You Did It! You Can Finally Cross Tandem Joyride off Your Bucket List. Now What?

Go back and do it again, of course! or learn to fly yourself, to become a solo pilot . There’s a reason why you see so many people grinning and high-fiving one another after landing after a flight; it’s a rush like no other. If you want to take the next step and keep the adrenaline pumping may be you can plan and enroll for a paragliding course and become a licensed pilot yourself.

Paragliding in Kamshet - Things to Know

Be sure to check out their website for a great great paragliding courses experience!

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